Treats Week: MacGyver Balls

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I would like to officially take credit for turning “MacGyver” into a verb.  It was about ten years ago, I think.  Since then, I’ve used it pretty much all the time.  And now it seems to be entering the general lexicon.  So that’s a win for me I think.  Or for whoever actually coined the term.  MacGyver, if you’re not aware, was a fantastic show from the late eighties about a dude who could save the world by solving science and physics problems with what he had at hand.  The joke is that he can defuse a nuclear bomb using only a paperclip.  And he probably did.  Macgyver was one of my heroes when I was a child.  I tend to “macgyver” a lot of things around our house, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.  It’s another form of “half-assed halfassery,” which is also a coinage of mine.  Anyway, I’ve heard it being used as a verb on TV now so I would like to take the credit while I can.  Although if you also invented the word then good on you too!

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Well, today I’m taking the term into the kitchen.  There’s a certain round chocolate confection of which I’m sure we’re all aware.  It comes wrapped in gold paper and commercials for it usually involve swanky parties of well-dressed demigods surrounding a pyramid made of the little shiny balls.  While what I’ve made below isn’t quite the version you can buy in the store, I think it’s a pretty decently-macgyvered version of the same.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Take 2 1/2 cups hazelnuts (filberts) and spread them on a baking sheet.

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Toast in your oven, shaking a couple times, for about 10 minutes, or until the skins start to blacken and bubble. Remove the nuts from the oven and plop in the centre of a clean tea towel.  Wrap the towel around the nuts and allow them to steam for a few minutes.

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Then rub the towel briskly over the nuts to remove the skins and allow the nuts to cool completely. If you don’t get all the skins off, don’t worry about it.

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When they are completely cool, pour them into a food processor to crush them into small pieces.

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Take about 3 cups Nutella (or store-brand alternative).  I am using the name brand because other versions are hard to get here in St. John’s and, well, it’s made by the company who makes the bon-bons I’m sort-of copying so I figure I’m on the right track, right?  Anyway, the jar contains approximately 3 cups of the stuff, so I’m going with that.  Scoop all that out into a bowl.

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Pour in 4 cups crisped rice cereal (AKA Rice Crispies) and mix those into the Nutella, making sure to get it all evenly combined without breaking too many of the rice bits.  In the real thing, there’s a ball of soft chocolate in the middle with a crunchy shell around it, but this is my version.

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If you wanted to be authentic you could make little spheres of frozen Nutella and roll them in the cereal. But that sounds hard.

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Take a spoon and start scooping balls of chocolate rice onto a sheet of waxed paper.  When you’ve got them all scooped, pop them in the freezer for an hour or two.  Mine I froze overnight.

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In the meantime, chop up 20 ounces dark chocolate and melt it in a double boiler or heat safe bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water.

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Allow the melted chocolate to cool to almost room temperature.  You want it cool enough it won’t melt the frozen Nutella balls, but not too cool that you can’t work with it.

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Spear a frozen Nutella ball with a skewer and dip it into the cooled chocolate.

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Roll the ball in the crushed hazelnuts until completely covered and lay on a sheet of waxed paper to cool completely and harden.

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The recipe above makes exactly 48 golf ball sized MacGuyver balls, so I’m sure you can use any fraction of this to make a smaller amount.

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Treats Week: All Truffles, All the Time

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I think I would lead a happier life if every Wednesday was a truffle day.  Just sayin’.

I have an easy kind of truffles for you today, delicious to the max.  They make great nibblies to have on hand for guests who drop by, and also elegant little gifts.  And the best part of this recipe (which I have modified from here and here), aside from its simplicity and versatility, is that they’re totally vegan and gluten-free.  So you can make everyone happy.  Serve them with chokladboll for fika and it will be even more impressive.

Soak about 15 medjool dates (those are the big ones) for about 15 minutes.

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While the dates are relaxing in their nice bath, take about 1 cup dessicated coconut, and chuck it in your food processor.  Pulse that until you have teeny flakes, and set half of it aside for coating the finished truffles.

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Do the same with 1 cup walnuts, almonds, pecans, or nut of your choosing, reserving half for coating.  I toasted these ones first.

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Dump the other half of the coconut and nuts back in the food processor.

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Add the soaked dates to the food processor, as well as 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk.  Alternately, you can use a few tablespoons of coconut oil.

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Now what you should know here is that I both doubled the recipe and my food processor is really small, so I did this in batches and mixed it together in a bowl.

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Pulse that gooey mass until it’s all finely combined and forming a huge ball.  Chuck that in the fridge for about 15 minutes.

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Then you can start making truffles balls with your hands.  Take about 2 tablespoons of the mixture and roll it in your palms to form a rough sphere. This was my hand after doing the whole batch.

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Roll about a third of your truffles in unsweetened cocoa powder (with an extra sprinkling of cayenne if you wish), another third in your coconut flakes, and the last third in the crushed nuts.

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Keep these in the fridge, or freeze them for later on down the road. My doubled recipe made 48 truffles.

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They’re so pretty and tasty and spicy!

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